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Verizon presses Bush to name new FCC comissioners
Mon Jun 6, 2005 06:11 PM ET
CHICAGO, June 6 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , the largest U.S. telephone company, on Monday pressed the Bush administration to quickly fill slots at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission which regulates the industry.
Verizon has a big stake in President George W. Bush filling two Republican positions at the five member agency since the telephone company needs the FCC to bless its plan to acquire long-distance and data company MCI Inc. (MCIP.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
At present, the commission is evenly split with two Republicans and two Democrats after FCC Chairman Michael Powell stepped down in March. Additionally, FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, also a Republican, plans to leave the agency soon.
So new FCC Chairman Kevin Martin must get at least one of the two Democrats on the panel to vote with him to ensure decisions he wants get approved.
"We need a fully functioning FCC," said Tom Tauke, Verizon's executive vice president for public affairs, at Supercomm, a telecommunications trade show. "It's hard to make bold policy when you have one vacancy and two lame ducks."
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens has recommended his aide Christine Kurth fill one slot and several names have been floated for the other position, including a former Texas state official, Rebecca Klein, and House Commerce Committee aide, Howard Waltzman, among others.
Democrat FCC Commissioner Michael Copps' term expires this month but he can serve until replaced or through late 2006. He has received support from Stevens and the top Senate Commerce Committee Democrat Sen. Daniel Inouye to be renominated.
"Whenever there is a vacancy, we obviously work to fill it in a timely matter," said White House spokeswoman Erin Healy. "We don't speculate on the timing of personnel announcements."
In addition to several large telecommunications deals the FCC must decide whether to approve, the agency must also chart the regulatory course for new technologies such as Internet telephone and video services.
"Though Martin has a remarkably good relationship with Copps and (Democrat FCC Commissioner Jonathan) Adelstein and they are able to move on a number of topics, there are a lot of other pending matters such as mergers and media ownership where there is likely to be disagreement," said Blair Levin, a former FCC chief of staff during the Clinton administration.
"With a 2-2 split, it's difficult for a chairman to move an agenda," he said.
The last two posts show VZ's strategy going forward:
To petition to FCC to adopt new regulations to preempt municipal regulation which is an impediment to FTTX. Having to get franchises from each and every municipality is a logistical and financial nightmare for VZ, SBC and BLS and, unless the rules change, will only delay the rollout of triple play.
For unknown reasons, the Democrat FCC commissioners have been fighting new FTTX friendly regulations the whole way. In the 3-2 vote last November when the FCC ruled that the Baby Bells would not have to share newly installed fiber with smaller parasitic carriers wanting a free ride, it was the two minority dem. FCC's who voted no. (Got that Alph and Derprofits!)
To bring triple play services to America and create real competition and ultimately lower costs for consumers (i.e. between cable co.'s and the baby bells), this new preemption regulation is absolutely necessary.
Alph and Derprofits, can either of you explain to me why your party is fighting this? I'm sure the FCC will make certain that no redlining will be permitted as part of any new preemptive regulations. Don't you Dems see the big picture? Looking forward to your response.
And if such new FCC regulations came into play, all the baby bells would accelerate their rollout of FTTX at the same time, creating the potential for exponential growth for MRV.
I assume Alph and Derprofits are both long MRV. Don't you want this to happen?
Once again, I ask you Dems: why do you attack the Republicans who support policy which is sympathetic to you MRV investment? Why do support your Dem. leadership,who for reasons unknown to me, are fighting regulations intended to accelerate the rollout of triple play to the US? Can you defend their position?
Norm: Since alphie and derp obviously are at a loss for words...and to keep some balance on this board...someone needs to present their position...
Just another example of you neo-cons parroting the party line...can't you think for yourselves or are you just going to be sheep following everything the religious right extreme fanatics spout...and besides, you convinced a small minority of undecides with lies and false information to vote with the reps. to bearly win the last election and had to resort to stealing the prior election via a stacked court system...you lemmings never learn...and we should not be in Iraq...where are the wmds?
We hope this answers your questions about the Democrat FCC commissioners....
What VZ and the other bells are seeking from the FCC is the ability to stifle all competition, and of course that has always been the neocon tendency. They want control and power in as few hands as possible, which can help make their totalitarian view of the future a reality. You are ridiculously naive to think that this elimination of competition will help companies like MRV.